There's no downplaying the importance of cybersecurity in today's society. Our most important documents are stored digitally. Our devices hold memories, contacts, and information that often cannot be replaced. Protecting this data is crucial.

For businesses, this concern goes beyond preventing data loss. Ensuring information is protected is also a legal requirement. Cybersecurity is essential to stay compliant with local privacy laws.

In this article, we will discuss what are some of the most common cybersecurity risks in 2023 and how you can protect your organisation from these threats. Digital risks are always evolving, and it is important to continuously improve cybersecurity efforts to keep systems in check.

Continue reading to find out if your business is prepared to prevent some modern threats.

Why should you protect your company from cybersecurity risks?

Cybersecurity threats can have a profound impact on businesses, and their consequences can be far-reaching.

As cyber threats continue to evolve, it's crucial for businesses to prioritise cybersecurity measures to protect their assets and maintain the trust of their customers and stakeholders. Some of the problems threats can cause include:

Financial loss

Cyberattacks can lead to significant financial losses. Businesses may have to pay for the recovery of compromised systems, legal fees, regulatory fines, and the cost of notifying affected customers. Moreover, there could be revenue losses due to downtime during and after an attack.

Data breaches

Data breaches can expose sensitive customer information, intellectual property, and internal documents. This can result in damage to a company's reputation, loss of customer trust, and potential legal liabilities.

Operational disruption

Cyberattacks can disrupt business operations. Ransomware attacks, for example, can encrypt critical data or systems, making them inaccessible until a ransom is paid. This downtime can lead to lost productivity and revenue.

Reputation damage

A data breach or other cyber incident can damage a business's reputation. Customers may lose trust in a company that cannot protect their data, which can lead to customer attrition and decreased sales.

Compliance and legal issues

Many industries are subject to regulations regarding data protection and cybersecurity. Failing to meet these requirements can result in fines and legal penalties. It may also require significant resources to demonstrate compliance.

Intellectual property theft

Businesses invest heavily in research and development. Cyberattacks can result in the theft of intellectual property, including patents, proprietary software, and trade secrets, which can be used by competitors or sold on the black market.

Supply chain disruption

Cyberattacks on suppliers or partners can disrupt a company's supply chain. If a critical supplier experiences a breach or outage, it can affect a business's ability to deliver products or services to customers.

Most common cybersecurity risks in 2023

As discussed, technology is ever-evolving, and so are cybersecurity threats and risks. As new software and hardware emerge, criminals develop new ways to illegally access data.

In 2023, there are some more common risks that companies and individuals must consider when implementing a robust cybersecurity strategy:

Ransomware extortion

Ransomware extortion, also known as ransomware attacks, is a type of cyberattack where malicious actors encrypt a victim's data or computer systems and demand a ransom payment in exchange for a decryption key or the promise to release the data. In essence, it's a form of digital extortion where cybercriminals hold a victim's data hostage and demand payment to restore access to it.

The attacker uses various methods, such as phishing emails, malicious attachments, or exploiting vulnerabilities in software or networks, to gain access to the victim's system.

Once inside, the attacker deploys ransomware, which encrypts the victim's files or even their entire system. The victim's data becomes inaccessible and unusable without the decryption key. The attacker then presents a ransom demand to the victim. This demand is usually accompanied by a countdown timer, increasing pressure on the victim to pay quickly. The ransom is typically demanded in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which provide a degree of anonymity to the attackers.

If the victim decides to pay the ransom, they transfer the cryptocurrency to the attacker's wallet. In return, the attacker provides the decryption key or tool needed to unlock the encrypted data. Upon receiving payment, the attacker may or may not provide the decryption key. Some attackers do fulfil their promise to decrypt the data, while others may not, leaving victims with the loss of both data and money.

Ransomware attacks have become increasingly sophisticated and prevalent in recent years, affecting individuals, businesses, healthcare organisations, and even critical infrastructure. As a result, organisations should prioritise cybersecurity measures to defend against ransomware and be prepared to respond effectively if an attack occurs.

Cloud third-party threats

Cloud third-party threats arise from the involvement of external entities or vendors in an organisation's cloud computing environment. These external entities, often referred to as third-party providers, offer various services or solutions within a cloud infrastructure, and their actions or vulnerabilities can potentially impact the security of the data and applications hosted in the cloud. These threats can affect cloud services, such as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), or Software as a Service (SaaS).

Third-party providers may handle or have access to an organisation's sensitive data stored in the cloud. If these providers experience a data breach due to their own security vulnerabilities or negligence, it can lead to the exposure of the organisation's data.

Cybercriminals may target third-party vendors or suppliers as a means to infiltrate the organisation's systems.

However, it is important to note that if third-party providers fail to meet industry-specific compliance requirements or data protection regulations (e.g., GDPR, HIPAA), it can lead to legal and financial consequences for the organisation.

Mobile malware

Mobile malware refers to malicious software specifically designed to target and infect mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. It spreads through various vectors, including malicious app downloads, infected attachments or links in emails or text messages, drive-by downloads from compromised websites, and even app stores with lax security measures.

This threat encompasses a wide range of malicious software, each with its own objectives and methods of infection. Here are some common categories of mobile malware:


Mobile Trojans disguise themselves as legitimate apps but have malicious functionality hidden within them. For example, they might steal sensitive data, send premium-rate SMS messages without the user's knowledge, or provide remote control to attackers.


Adware is a form of malware that aggressively displays unwanted advertisements on a mobile device. While adware is typically more of an annoyance than a direct security threat, it can lead to privacy issues and reduced device performance.


Spyware secretly monitors a user's activities, such as keystrokes, call logs, and text messages, and transmits this information to malicious actors. This type of malware is often used for espionage or identity theft.


Rootkits gain root access (admin-level control) to a mobile device, allowing them to hide and maintain persistent control over the system. Rootkits can be difficult to detect and remove, making them particularly dangerous.


Mobile worms are self-replicating malware that can spread from one device to another, often via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or infected apps. They can quickly infect multiple devices and networks.

Dialer malware

Dialer malware silently dials premium-rate phone numbers or sends SMS messages to premium-rate services, resulting in high phone bills for the victim.


Scareware tricks users into believing their device is infected with malware and then prompts them to pay for a fake antivirus or security solution. In reality, these fake solutions provide no protection and may introduce more malware.

Risky hybrid or remote work environments

With the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have embraced remote work. While this new work configuration offers many benefits, it can also present a risk if organisations are not careful.

Employees working remotely often use their home Wi-Fi networks, which may lack strong security measures. Weak passwords, outdated routers, and unpatched firmware can make these networks susceptible to attacks.

Without proper training, remote employees are more likely to receive phishing emails and fall victim to social engineering attacks. Cybercriminals exploit the human element to trick employees into revealing sensitive information or downloading malicious content.

Many workers also use their personal devices (BYOD - Bring Your Own Device) for work-related tasks. These devices may not have the same level of security controls as corporate-owned devices. They may neglect to update their devices with the latest security patches, leaving them vulnerable to known exploits.

It is also important that remote employees are provided guidance on the importance of using sanctioned apps and cloud services.


Cryptojacking, short for "cryptocurrency mining hijacking," is a type of cyberattack where malicious actors use the computational resources of a victim's computer, smartphone, server, or other devices without their knowledge or consent to mine cryptocurrencies.

The attacker infects a target device with malware, usually through methods such as phishing emails, malicious downloads, or compromised websites. The malware runs in the background, consuming the device's processing power and electrical resources.

The malware then connects to a cryptocurrency mining pool or uses its own mining script to perform the complex mathematical calculations required for cryptocurrency mining. The results are sent back to the attacker's control server.

Cryptojacking is an evolving threat, and attackers continue to develop new techniques to evade detection. As such, it's essential to remain vigilant and take proactive measures to protect against this type of cyberattack.

IoT attacks

IoT (Internet of Things) attacks are cyberattacks that target devices and networks within the Internet of Things ecosystem. IoT devices are everyday objects connected to the internet, capable of collecting and transmitting data. They can be thermostats, cameras, refrigerators, wearable fitness trackers, and industrial sensors, among many others.

IoT attacks exploit vulnerabilities in these devices and their networks for various malicious purposes, including some that have already been mentioned in this article, such as ransomware and spyware.

IoT attacks can have significant consequences, including data breaches, privacy violations, financial losses, and damage to the functionality of devices. Given the rapid growth of IoT, addressing these threats is essential.

AI threats

While artificial intelligence (AI) can be a powerful tool in enhancing cybersecurity, it also presents its own set of threats and challenges. Malicious actors can potentially misuse or exploit AI techniques and technologies:

Adversarial machine learning

Attackers can use adversarial machine learning techniques to manipulate AI systems. By making small, imperceptible changes to input data, they can deceive AI algorithms into making incorrect decisions. For example, an image recognition system could misclassify an object if the attacker subtly alters the image.

Automated attacks

AI-powered bots can automatically scan networks and systems for vulnerabilities, rapidly exploit them, and launch attacks at a scale that's challenging for human defenders to counter.

AI-generated malware

Malicious actors can use AI to develop more sophisticated and evasive malware. AI can be used to automate the generation of malware variants that can adapt and evolve to evade traditional cybersecurity defences.

Phishing and social engineering

AI can automate the creation of convincing phishing emails and messages. These messages can be personalised and tailored to exploit specific human psychology traits, making them more effective.

Evasion of detection

Malware can use AI to identify when it is being analysed or detected by cybersecurity tools, allowing it to alter its behaviour to evade detection.

Data poisoning

Attackers can manipulate training data used for AI models in ways that lead to incorrect or malicious behaviour. For example, if an AI system is trained on poisoned data, it might make incorrect security decisions.

Privacy violation

AI can be used to process and analyse large volumes of data, potentially raising concerns about user privacy. Improperly managed AI systems may access or expose sensitive personal information.

AI-driven spear phishing

AI can be employed to analyse publicly available data on individuals and craft highly targeted spear-phishing attacks that appear more convincing and difficult to detect.

Deepfakes and voice synthesis

AI-driven deepfake technology can be used to create convincing fake audio and video recordings of individuals, which can be exploited for impersonation, fraud, or disinformation campaigns.

Attack tool development

AI can be used to create advanced attack tools that automate various stages of an attack, making it easier for less skilled attackers to conduct sophisticated cyber operations.

How to protect your business from cybersecurity risks?

By now, you understand the importance of protecting your business and what are the most common threats you might face. But how can you prevent cybersecurity risks, and what can you do to mitigate the consequences?

Effective cybersecurity measures are essential for companies to protect their data, systems, and operations.

Risk assessment

Companies should conduct regular risk assessments to identify and understand potential threats and vulnerabilities specific to their environment. This forms the foundation for effective cybersecurity planning.

Security policies and procedures

Develop and enforce comprehensive cybersecurity policies and procedures. These documents should outline acceptable use, data protection, incident response, and other critical security guidelines.

Access control

Implement strong access controls, including user authentication and authorisation mechanisms, to ensure that only authorised personnel have access to sensitive systems and data.

Employee training and awareness

Provide cybersecurity training and awareness programs to employees to educate them about security risks, safe online practices, and how to recognise and report potential threats like phishing emails.

Patch management

Regularly update and patch operating systems, software, and firmware to address known vulnerabilities. Unpatched systems are often targeted by attackers.

Network security

Deploy firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS), and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) to monitor and protect the network perimeter from unauthorised access and attacks.

Endpoint security

Install and maintain antivirus software, anti-malware tools, and endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions on all devices to safeguard against malware and other threats.

Data encryption

Encrypt sensitive data both in transit and at rest to protect it from unauthorised access. This includes the use of encryption protocols like TLS and technologies like full-disk encryption.

Regular backups

Maintain regular data backups and test the restoration process to ensure data recovery in case of ransomware attacks, data corruption, or hardware failures.

Incident response plan

Develop and regularly update an incident response plan (IRP) to guide the company's response to cybersecurity incidents. This plan should include roles and responsibilities, communication strategies, and procedures for containing and mitigating threats.

Security monitoring and logging

Implement real-time security monitoring and logging solutions to detect suspicious activities and potential breaches. Analyse logs for indicators of compromise (IoCs) and anomalies.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA)

Require the use of MFA for accessing critical systems and accounts. MFA adds an extra layer of security by verifying a user's identity through multiple methods.

Vendor and third-party risk management

Assess and monitor the cybersecurity practices of third-party vendors and partners. Ensure they meet security standards and have safeguards in place to protect your data.

Disaster recovery and business continuity planning

Develop and regularly test disaster recovery and business continuity plans to ensure the company can continue operations in the event of a cyber incident or other disaster.

Final thoughts

Effective cybersecurity is paramount for businesses of all sizes. With so much of our lives and negotiations taking place in digital platforms and environments, ensuring that your data is protected is ensuring the success of your business.

As technology evolves, so do threats and vulnerabilities. Knowing the most common cybersecurity threats in the modern world can help you prepare better to prevent risks and mitigate consequences.

Stratiis can help you develop a robust cybersecurity strategy, protecting your business and important data from the most modern threats. Contact us to learn more.